After a month-long absence, your Tuesday Night Top Ten column is back…with a vengeance. Ok maybe not with a vengeance, but it is back. In keeping with the tradition, I have compiled ten of the most newsworthy stories and happenings in fantasy baseball for you. Some of them contain humor. Some of them contain advice. Some of them contain useful information. But they all contain sentences, words and punctuation. Now, without further adieu, here is the Tuesday Top Ten fantasy baseball headlines for July 26, 2011.
10. Not feeling very Chipper – Braves third baseman Chipper Jones returned from the disabled list on Monday only to re-injure himself and possibly go back to the DL. He tweaked his right quadriceps late in the game and had to be taken out in the ninth inning. Reports out of Atlanta say he will be given a few days rest, but the 39-year old future Hall of Famer will likely end up back on the DL as the Braves tend to be cautious with their star. At this point in his career, injuries have become all too common and frequent so no one should be depending on Chipper for fantasy production. If he plays, then it is a bonus for you. Look elsewhere for options at third base.
9. Don’t Worley, Be Happy – As if the Phillies didn’t have enough pitching coming into the season with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, and Joe Blanton, it appears that they have yet another ace in the making. Rookie Vance Worley has taken the league by storm looking like he fits right in with this star-studded staff. Injuries to Oswalt and Blanton have given Worley a chance to shine, and all he has done is go 6-1 with a 2.02 ERA in ten starts thus far. The word on the street is that Blanton is either done for the season or may come back in the bullpen. This means Worley is here to stay in the Phillies rotation, so pick him up if he is still available.
8. I’ve Got a Fever for More Cowgill – The Diamondbacks have called up OF prospect Collin Cowgill to play left field. Cowgill was batting .354 with 13 homers, 70 RBI and 30 stolen bases in 98 games for Triple-A Reno this season. He should be in line to get most of the playing time, but a platoon with Gerardo Parra is possible. He is worth a pickup for his five-category potential and should fit right into the D’Backs young lineup. Plus, it will be cool to say you have a player whose name is Cowgill.
7. Don’t Mess With the Johan – For a Mets team riddled with injuries and bad news all year, they finally have something to look forward to. No, I am not referring to Jason Bay being released. Ace pitcher Johan Santana is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment this week after feeling no pain from his recent bullpen sessions. He is projected to return to the big leagues by the middle of August if everything goes according to plan. No one knows whether he will be the Johan of old, but he is certainly worth stashing on your DL if you have a spot. In the off chance he comes back and regains his old form, it could propel your fantasy team to the top by essentially having an ace pitcher join your staff down the stretch.
6. Reddick-ulous – Red Sox OF Josh Reddick looks like he is here to stay as he is now getting starts against left hand pitchers. Originally called up to fill in when J.D. Drew went on the disabled list for the 1,765th time in his career, Reddick looks like he may supplant the former number one pick in right field. Reddick has been so impressive that the Sox may not pursue an outfield bat before the trade deadline. While his body of work is only 101 at bats thus far, he looks like he knows what he is doing at the plate and it doesn’t hurt batting in Boston’s potent lineup. He should be picked up soon because eventually people will realize he may not be a fluke.
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5. Blame Canada – It wouldn’t be a Tuesday Top Ten if I didn’t include a rant about Jason Bay. Nothing has changed since last month when I wrote about his disastrous performance, and that includes a hot streak of four days prior to the All Star break. This is not a personal attack on Bay because he does play hard and gives maximum effort. But he has been a colossal failure for the Mets, and to Terry Collins’ credit he continues to take Bay out of the lineup every few days because, quite frankly, he is an offensive liability. With Carlos Beltran likely to be traded this week, Bay will most likely remain in the lineup to provide some semblance of a major league team. But he is essentially useless in terms of fantasy baseball. Barring an unforeseen miraculous recovery, Bay should remain on your bench or try trading him to a desperate team in need of some Canadian membership.
4. Taking the “D” out of DH – The designated hitter is typically used for players who are in the twilight of their career and can still handle the bat but are generally liabilities in the field. The Yankees have used Jorge Posada as their primary DH this season because at 39, his days as a mediocre catcher were over. Yet, he still was a competent and productive hitter. However, he has struggled mightily all season and has not provided the Yankees with any consistent offense out of that spot. With Alex Rodriguez recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, Eduardo Nunez has been filling in at third base. Nunez has looked very impressive with the bat and has provided the Yankees with lots of run production at the bottom of their lineup. However, he has the defensive skills of a comatose goldfish. When A-Rod returns in August, the Yankees should consider keeping Nunez as the DH. If they do this, Nunez could be a valuable fantasy commodity because he qualifies at both SS and 3B. Regardless, pick him up and use him for the next few weeks while A-Rod is out.
3. Lincecum has a Doctor’s Note – Tim Lincecum, easily mistaken for a 14-year old girl, was scratched from his start on Tuesday night because he is suffering from the flu. He is expected to make a full recovery and be in line for his next start. However, the school nurse allegedly found lice in Lincecum’s Lukas Haas-Dazed and Confused-like hair. It is unknown whether he tested positive for scoliosis.
2. Adonde vas, Carlos? – With the trade deadline fast approaching, the biggest name available is Mets OF Carlos Beltran. The rumors have been swirling for weeks with the Giants, Phillies, Braves, Red Sox, and Rangers being the frontrunners. Beltran is having a renaissance season after two injury-plagued years that sapped him of his power and speed. He is a valuable fantasy commodity no matter where he plays, but clearly his value will increase if he is sent to Boston, Texas or Philadelphia. If he goes to Atlanta or San Francisco, he will be the focal point of some very anemic offenses.
1. What to do with a flaccid Johnson? – The fate of Marlins ace pitcher Josh Johnson will reportedly be determined by the end of this week. What other Johnson did you think I was referring to? Get your mind out of the gutter. Johnson has been on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation since May and was initially not expected to miss much time. However, the problems have not gone away and he has been shut down since June. If he can begin throwing again by the end of this week, then there is at least a chance he will pitch again this season. Otherwise, the Marlins will likely shut him down for good. Either way, things do not look for JJ if he is on your fantasy team. Even if he does have a miraculous recovery, he wouldn’t be back until September and likely limited in his innings and pitches. Wait another week before deciding to cut him or keep him stashed.
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